French Coffee, Served White || Narrative Series 02


Here continues a new series in which I will drop down into the scene of poignant moments in my life. The goal is to stretch my literary and narrative voice. Some years have passed since I have practiced the discipline of narrative memoir; forgive my rusty start.


Closing my eyes, I smell the paper stacked high on the shelves. It smells of Indian dyes and strong coffee. All of France is undertoned with the caffeinated scent, even hand-pressed papers carefully bound into journals, displayed as cards, intended for scrapbooks. I stand surrounded by aisles of paper in any array of color smeared with the odor of coffee.

The shop door opens, blown wide by a forceful wind. The cold bites through my lungs, stealing what breathe I have left. Forgetting the perfumed papers, I follow the swirling air into the alley. Suddenly, the soft snow falls. Intricate white flakes of enchanting falling snow. No, it is not falling. It is bowing low in respect before rising in an elegant pirouette. It performs a ballet and a hiphop simultaneously, not for the bustling Christmas crowds. For me, the muted audience.

You can erase ink in France. The calligraphy tips are fed from changable cartridges of colored ink. Mistakes are not crossed through, they are erased with a special white eraser. Even erasable ink has a certain quality of permanence. In the land of dancing snow and espresso-laced paper, who would keep records in pencil? 


Read my other narrative posts here.

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